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|Saturday, January 20, 2001, updated at 08:43(GMT+8)|
Lebanon to Present Files to UN on Israel's Use of DU WeaponsLebanon will inform the United Nations about Israel's use of depleted uranium (DU) weapons in south Lebanon, the National News Agency NNA reported on Friday.
Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hammoud has instructed Lebanese permanent representative to the U.N. Salim Tadmali to contact with concerned U.N. institutes to present files on Israel's use of DU warheads in south Lebanon.
Israel invaded Lebanon in 1978 and set up a so-called security zone in south Lebanon in 1985 to allegedly protect its northern areas from attacks by Lebanese Muslim guerrillas. The Jewish state withdrew its occupation troops from Lebanon last May.
Steffan de Mistura, the new personal representative of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan for south Lebanon, said on Thursday that the world organization was very concerned about the issue.
"We will make investigations on the ground in the south and compare results with those from Europe and Iraq," de Mistura said in Beirut.
"If we find that the results were caused by DU weapons, we will make an announcement immediately as it would be a serious matter," he added.
The Lebanese government was verifying reports that cases of cancer among south Lebanon's 1 million people have increased considerably possibly as a result of Israel's use of DU weapons.
Blood cancer cases have trebled among the population of south Lebanon over the past four years, the official NNA said, quoting a report by a hospital in the southern city of Sidon.
Israel has admitted limited use of DU weapons during its military occupation of south Lebanon.
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